Osgoode Hall Law School’s Oxford IP moot team has boldly gone where no Ozzie has gone before at the 18th Annual Oxford International Intellectual Property Law Moot, and it was a heck of a ride.
At the beginning of 2020, when the team was first scheduled to compete, compulsory licensing seemed like a fun thought experiment and a great theoretical moot problem about balancing IP rights and public health. It quickly became an eerily relevant issue as the world rapidly shut down and essential medical items like masks, gloves, and ventilators became precious commodities. Doors stayed shut, Wi-Fi capacity limits got tested, and in the wake of the initial disbelief that the world was collectively at war with the most covert of enemies, there was little room to feel disappointment about the cancellation of the competition. As the months wore on, and a new normalcy crystallized, the team got word that the competition was back on, and that the 2020 competitors were invited to return. Two of the team members came back, and a third joined ranks in January of 2021.
The moot organizers pivoted to a Zoom format and accommodated its largest set of teams to date, with 32 schools battling for the title. The first day entailed a virtual welcome ceremony. Moments after the team’s alarm clocks screamed to life at 6:30 am, each member logged into Zoom, sleepy-eyed and afflicted with the most serious cases of bed head. As the organizer scrolled through the competing teams’ slides, it slowly became apparent that Osgoode had miscalculated. Slide after slide passed through the platform, with many a suit and rarely a smile. Then Osgoode’s slide came roaring in with a beaver, a moose, and what appeared to be a team member drinking maple syrup straight from the bottle. Whatever impression they made, the Ozzies quickly made it clear that they meant business.
The preliminaries were also no laughing matter, as the competition was fierce. Thankfully, Osgoode was blessed with the platinum package for coaching and the preliminaries were passed through with a breeze. As the team advanced on, excitement in the Osgoode community rose. The team entered the final match, buttressed with support from all angles in the Oz community, the IP space, and from their collective friends and family. The online format uniquely allowed all supporters to watch their team in action, and we felt the love. While Osgoode ultimately lost out in the grand final, the opportunity to experience this competition was a big “W”.
To our 2020 team member, Julianna Felendzer, we hope we did you proud. Thanks for helping us secure the invite to the oral rounds!
To our coaches Jennifer Davidson, Stephen Selznick, Any Obando and Giuseppina D’Agostino, we are forever grateful for your dedication and your support, especially when it was just a “hair toss, check your nails” kind of day!
Co-written by Anna Morrish, Alex Dumais, and Karin Kazakevich, 2021 Oxford International Intellectual Property Law Moot Runners Up